The Netherlands Authority for Consumers and Markets (ACM) will actively enforce the new cookie rules, which came into force today. The new cookie rules mandate that users must give their consent in advance for the storage of cookies on their computers or mobile phones. In the new rules, an exception has been made for analytical cookies, which hardly violate the privacy of users. Another new aspect is that government websites cannot use ‘cookie walls,’ with which visitors that do not accept cookies are refused access to their websites. Anita Vegter, Member of the Board of ACM, adds: “Now that the new regulatory framework is clear, ACM will start enforcing these rules. On their websites, businesses are required to inform users about the storage of cookies, and are required to ask for their consent. We will remind businesses of these requirements, and we will fine them, if necessary.” ACM can impose fines of up to EUR 450,000 per violation.
A cookie is a small text file that is stored on the user’s computer, when visiting a website. These cookies are able to track users across multiple websites, thereby making it possible to create customized advertisements. There are cookies that are used to have the websites themselves function better, which are called functional and analytical cookies. With such cookies, hardly any personal information (or none at all) of individual users is collected and processed. With the new rules, website owners are no longer required to inform users and ask for their consent for storing analytical cookies. For the storage of all other cookies, website owners must inform visitors in advance, and must ask for their consent. Without the required consent and the provision of information, such cookies cannot be stored. In the next couple of months, ACM will actively check whether website owners comply with these new rules.
Consumers who wish to have more information about the new rules that have come into force are advised to visit consumer information portal ConsuWijzer.nl (in Dutch). If they have any indications about possible violations of these rules, they can submit their indications to ConsuWijzer as well.